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Major Asian retailer's interest in NZ


Major Asian retailer's interest in NZ offers big trade door opening

Major Asian retailer Istean's spotlight on New Zealand this week offers a big trade door opening, according to New Zealand trade experts.

Isetan, a retail giant with a $10 billion annual turnover, are a key participant in the Asian retailers conference starting in Christchurch this week. The conference is the biggest retail convention ever to be held in New Zealand.

More than 1500 delegates are attending the conference which is seen as a landmark step to increasing trade between New Zealand and Asian countries.

Japan has the largest contingent, led by the Japan Retailers Association chairman Mr Kazumasa Koshiba, who is also chairman of Isetan, which is regarded as Asia's most prestigious and successful fashion specialty department store group.

Mr Koshiba will be hosted by lifestyle fashion company Snowy Peak at a business function at Untouched World in Christchurch tomorrow night -- the same time as the opening of the conference. The function has been arranged at the request of Mr Koshiba.

Former Asian trade commissioner Eugene Bowen said today New Zealanders had to have visited Asian countries such as Japan to understand the significance of the opportunity.

``Japanese flagship department stores like Isetan have set the benchmark for retail throughout Asia.

Isetan's interest in New Zealand offers prospects for further significant trade benefits for New Zealand, if New Zealand responds to and develops this interest, said Mr Bowen, who is now with Auckland University's Department of International Business.

Andrew White, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise's (NZTE) trade commissioner in Tokyo said the visit of a delegation of over 600 led by Mr Koshiba provided an invaluable opportunity to forge and strengthen linkages with Japan's top retailers.

``The companies coming to New Zealand for the convention are very influential in the retail industry,'' he said.

Snowy Peak managing director Peri Drysdale said Isetan were very interested in New Zealand.

``There is no better or more prestigious name to be associated with in the Japanese market than Isetan.

Every company selling designer merchandise in the world wants to be able to say they sell at Isetan. Once this is achieved, doors open in Japan and even as far away as London and New York.

``This is a unique and unusual opportunity for us as a country to build on this growing relationship -- which Snowy Peak has been fostering for many years,'' Ms Drysdale said.

copyright Word of Mouth Media NZ 2003

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